The Request for Information (“RFI”) is the only Orbidder format that is used for gathering information rather than conducting a competition. The RFI is generally used at the outset of a project to obtain market information from the supplier community that can inform decisions about a subsequent procurement process. It may help a purchaser to decide what type of competition to hold, if any, or to refine its understanding of the project specifications.
For example, an RFI might be used to clarify:
- What type or types of products are available to satisfy a stated need
- The range of options available for a particular product or service
- How the specifications for a particular product or service should be articulated to ensure clear communication with the supplier community
- Whether there is sufficient supplier interest or capacity to justify a competitive process
- Whether other suppliers exist in an apparent monopoly situation